Source: British Cosmopolitan
Date: December 1998
Don't miss the pictures to this article. They are very possibly the best pictures ever taken of Melanie. CLICK HERE
Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm reveals a sexy new image - and talks to Leah Harvey about love, Madonna and life after Spice.
"People are going to be amazed when they see these pictures!" says Melanie Chisholm, inspecting a Polaroid of herself teetering on sky-high heels, her lean body cling-wrapped in Gucci, her shiny mane of blue-black hair tousled by a wind machine. "But I must say, I'm loving this. The clothes feel gorgeous, and these heels make your legs look fabulous, don't they?"
Ah yes, legs. As high-kicking, tomboyish Sporty Spice, Mel has spent three years as the world's most famous tracksuit wearer, her limbs always encased in something baggy. Yet the toned legs she unveils for the photo-shoot are just one of the many surprises Mel has to offer.
For a start, she's pretty and tiny - a small-boned, almost frail-looking 5ft 6in with huge brown eyes. And, despite an estimated £13 million in the bank and superstar status, she's utterly unspoilt. Unlike many stars, Mel arrives for the shoot bang on time, fresh from the gym, wearing a Morgan T-shirt and no make-up. when the photographer, fashion assistant and yours truly ask for autographs she agrees with a charming smile. Far from being the aggressive character her image might suggest, Mel is Nice Spice: gentle, friendly and softly-spoken.
"I think people's preconceptions of me are pretty wrong," she says. "Yes, I have my tomboyish side, but I'm actually quite girly. I'm very shy and soft, and incredibly tidy - my nickname is Monica after the Friends character." She saves her extrovert side for the stage. "When friends come to see the Spice Girls I'm embarrassed because on stage is where I really let go. Afterwards, I think, 'Oh no, was I acting really stupidly?'"
Acknowledged as having the best voice in the group, Mel is the girl everyone wants to get to know. "Madonna took me out to dinner in New York," she says, diffidently. "I was thrilled. She's been an idol of mine since I was a child." Pressed, she reveals, "I'm recording a solo album, probably next year, and I plan to work with her."
Life, it seems, is changing fast for this 24-year-old. After years of being the "other one" in the group, Mel's suddenly blossoming. And when her phone rings it's likely to be an international superstar on the line. "I met Bryan Adams in LA," she says. "Then he rang me at home to ask me to sing on his new album. The only person who rings me at home is my mum, so when I answered I automatically said, 'Hello, Mum.' And he said, 'No, it's Bryan, Bryan Adams.' He sounded quite startled!"
Mel also delivers a hint at her future beyond the Spice Girls. Their Christmas single, out on 14 December, is tantalisingly entitled Goodbye. And the girls' third album will "include a lot more solos and duets". As the babies arrive and the solo records are released, what, I ask, will Mel do when it's all over? "When it's over?" she replies, astounded. "This will never be over - oh, I don't mean the Spice Girls - I mean my career." She glows with confidence. "I don't want to do anything else."
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
Mel was born in Merseyside. Her mother was a singer, her father worked for a coach travel firm. They split up when Mel was seven and she moved to Cheshire with her mum. Both her parents eventually remarried and she now has five brothers and a half-sister Emma, whom she only met last year.
MEL C ON...
...HER NEW ROMANCE
"I have sort of met someone. His name is Jake Davies and we met in a recording studio in Dublin [he's a record producer]. We're having fun together, but it isn't serious. The problem is, I only have to be seen with someone and the papers are marrying me off. That's so embarrassing! You know how it is when you start a relationship. You just go out for a few drinks and you don't know how it will go. With me, it's suddenly in the papers that I'm in love. It makes me think 'Aaargh! I've only just met him!' And it's frustrating too, because I want to say, 'I'm still available, everyone else!' Put it this way, I think of myself as still young, free and single and I know Jake won't be upset to read that."
...THE MAN OF HER DREAMS
"I'd love to meet someone special. But I'm not looking - I don't believe that works. You do get to the age when your friends are getting married and having kids and it makes you think, but I'm so not ready for that now. I'm very happy as I am. My ideal man has to be ambitious - I find that really attractive. He'll like football and having a laugh. Initially, looks are important, and physically my ideal is quite big and strong. Not a Peter Andre type, but big enough to give me a big hug."
...RED HOT RUMOURS
"Yes, I did go for dinner with Anthony Kiedis, [the sexy lead singer with The Red Hot Chili Peppers] after we met in LA, but there's no romance." Why not, didn't you fancy him? "Er, no. But I do like him. He's a very nice guy."
...FAME AT LAST
"I've wanted to be famous ever since I can remember. As a child, I thought everyone felt like that, but they don't, do they? For some people it would be a nightmare. Why do I want to be famous? Because it's a sign of acceptance. I've been in the public eye three years now, and it has changed me. It's made me feel more confident and comfortable with myself. But what makes me angry is when I get special treatment because of my fame. Recently I had to catch a train and I didn't have a ticket. I asked if I could buy one on the train and the railway offical said no until he realised who I was. Then it was all, 'Oh, it's a Spice Girl, let me help you on the train. Don't bother with a ticket.' I thought that was so wrong!"
...MEETING COURTNEY LOVE
"She's a talented, mixed-up woman. She was great to meet, though. She took the mickey out of me by impersonating my Liverpool accent and she was better at it than me."
...WORKING WITH ALL SAINTS?
"I'm listening to a lot of William Orbit albums [he produced Madonna's Ray Of Light album]. I also like Natalie Imbruglia, Robbie Williams, and (sly smile) All Saints [rumour has it they're planning a collaboration]. But Blur are my favourite band."
...HER BACHELORETTE PAD
"I wish you could see the one-bedroom flat I rent in North London. There's only room for my bed, a wardrobe and my exercise bike - and if I get up in the night I knock the bike over. I'm looking for a place to buy in London. Some of the girls have bought these huge mansions, but I'm not ready for that. I just want a modest pad - somewhere spacious, but not so big your family come and stay all the time! I've also just bought a flat in the Liverpool docks, just under Jamie Redknapp and Louise's flat."
"I still wear the ring she gave all of us when we were demo-ing the first album. But I respect her decision to leave. If you're not happy with something you should change it. It was a relief for her to walk away - the Spice Girls life is very stressful."
"When I was 18 and unemployed, I used to walk into Mis Selfridge or TopShop and think, 'One day I'll be able to afford anything I want.' Of course, nowadays I don't particularly want anything. I never think about money - but, that said, it's when you have money you can say it's not important. I'm happy to have bought houses and cars for my family, but money isn't what drives me."
"Over the past two years, I've hardly been home because of tax. I've only spent 60 days in the country. I miss silly things like Richard and Judy, Heinz baked beans and normal milk. I always pack photos, candles and a teddy bear to make hotels feel more like home."
"People tend to be very nice to me. I suppose I have less to be jealous of than some of the other girls. Victoria and David have so much, and they're so in love, that people envy them. With me, 'it's Sporty!' I still go out socially, and I go to the supermarket. People come up to me and say, 'What are you doing here?' How else do they think I eat? I've developed my own ways of being incognito - you wouldn't get away with dark glasses and a baseball cap in Liverpool! In shops I keep my head down and move fast. The only thing I worry about is the young girls who practically camp outside my flat. Sometimes it gets to 11pm and I know they're miles from home, so I go out and beg them to go home."
"It's not just an image with me. When we started out, our first management told us we should all wear the same clothes. Well, we didn't think much of that. I was a sporty child who did loads of athletics and gymnastics. Then I studied dance. Geri first introduced me to the gym and now I work out four times a week for two hours at a time and I surprise myself with how fit I am. It helps me cope with stress. I can lose myself there. When I'm on the treadmill I feel safe - nobody can hassle me."